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Michael Tippett, who was ‘invincibly drawn to the quartet medium’ when he heard performances by the Busch and Léner Quartets during his student years in London, wrote five string quartets spanning his entire compositional life.
On this first disc of the complete Quartets, the tuneful String Quartet No. 1 is followed by the String Quartet No. 2, notable for its abundant lyricism and lithe, dancing rhythms.
In sharp contrast to both these works stands the more dissonant String Quartet No. 4, an unbroken sequence of numbered movements, which reflect the String Quartet Op. 131 of Tippett’s compositional hero, Beethoven.
The Tippett Quartet is one of Britain’s most exciting young string quartets, founded in 1998. They are committed to combining mainstream repertoire with contemporary works and have been described as “bold and innovative” by The Times.
“The Tippett Quartet plays with a seasoned cohesion and rapport, but also with the tang of youthful spirit….The Tippett’s response embraced an arresting spectrum of colouring between extremes of astringency and refined delicacy. Huge enjoyable and provocative, the concert identified a quartet of such exciting ideas and vital interpretative insight that it promises to make a significant contribution to the realms of chamber music.” The Daily Telegraph
Michael Tippett: String Quartet No. 1
I. Allegro appassionato
II. Lento cantabile
III. Allegro assai
Michael Tippett: String Quartet No. 2
I. Allegro grazioso
IV. Allegro appassionato
Michael Tippett: String Quartet No. 4
I. Molto legato
III. Moderately slow
IV. Very fast
“…enjoyable and sensitively played accounts of some of Tippett's most characteristic and durable pieces.”
24th October 2008
“The 1978 Fourth Quartet, which was explicitly modelled on the form of Beethoven's C sharp minor Quartet Op 131...remains true to itself in a birth-to-death sequence that ends in Tippett's own brand of transcendence.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.